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Seattle City Council

Downtown Seattle accounts for more than half the city's construction investments, according to DSA.
KUOW Photo File/Megan Farmer

The bloom is off the boom.


The entrance to a homeless shelter on Third Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW File Photo/John Ryan

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan didn't veto the head tax passed by the Seattle City Council earlier this week, but in a letter to council members last night, she criticized the council's spending plan for the new tax.

Valerie Nagle, who lives in her van: 'It would be huge, if there was enough housing, affordable housing.'
KUOW photo/David Hyde

With Seattle adding tens of millions of dollars to fight homelessness, people around the city want to know: Is that money being spent effectively?

Valerie Nagle is one of them. She lives in her van.


Seattle's Department of Finance and Administrative Services has approved a new three year contract with Wells Fargo.
Flickr Photo/Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/okhmqR

Breaking up is hard — especially if you're a city trying to break up with a bank.

Especially if the other banks aren't all that interested in dating you.


Seattle just voted for a shrunken ‘head tax’

May 14, 2018
Emily McArthur reacts on Monday, May 14, 2018, during the head tax vote at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The head tax is happening — but the weakened version passed by the Seattle City Council today won't address the scale of the housing crisis, some council members say.


Seattleites packed a City Hall meeting on Monday, where a vote on the contentious head tax was expected.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A compromise has been struck over the controversial proposed Head Tax by the Seattle City Council. Over the weekend Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez worked with Mayor Jenny Durkan to come up with a plan they could both support. The new plan would raise an estimated $50 million a year instead of the original $75 million.

Volunteers count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Is Seattle the sort of place where, if you can’t afford it, there’s no room for you?


Jenny Durkan at her election night party on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2017
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with news analyst Joni Balter about why the head tax proposed by the Seattle City Council puts Mayor Jenny Durkan in a politically tricky position. Balter is a contributor to Bloomberg Opinion and host of Civic Cocktail on the Seattle Channel.

File photo of a homeless encampment under a bridge.
KUOW Photo

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is not ready to support the proposed employee head tax. This is the proposal for a per-employee tax on the city's highest grossing businesses.

The money would pay for low-income housing and services for homeless people. Amazon would be the number one payer of this tax and they are so opposed to it that they've halted construction on a new tower in Downtown Seattle. Also opposed to this head tax are local companies like Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and Dick's Drive-In.

The sun sets on downtown Seattle on Friday, October 27, 2017, shown from Harbor Ave. Southwest.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

More than a hundred heads of Seattle companies are saying no to Seattle’s head tax proposal. In an open letter to the Seattle City Council, they say it doesn’t make sense to punish businesses for creating jobs.

The letter’s signatories include the heads of Alaska Airlines, Tableau, and Expedia.

Amazon employees walk in front of a map highlighting 238 cities that submitted bids for Amazon's second headquarters in the lobby of the Day 1 building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It started with a tax proposal related to the cost of fast growth. Now it’s become a showdown.

Amazon said it is halting plans for two downtown Seattle office buildings while it waits for the City Council to decide on a head tax.

Tents are shown as people gathered to protest the sweeps of homeless camps in November, 2017, at City Hall in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Let May 2, 2018, be known as the day that Seattle Nice died.

Homes in Queen Anne are shown from the Space Needle in November in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks about the lawsuit against the city over the recently passed ordinance that prohibits landlords from screening some rental applicants based on their criminal background. William Shadbolt, president of the board of the Rental Housing Association of Washington explains why they're suing. Seattle City Councilor Lisa Herbold tells us why she supports the ordinance and co-sponsored it. In a statement, the city's Attorney's Office says, "Our office is currently reviewing the complaint, which we received on Tuesday.  We believe the ordinance is constitutional and plan to defend it."

Homes in Queen Anne are shown from the Space Needle in November in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Many cities require permits to cut down trees on private property. Currently Seattle isn’t one of them.

But a new proposal would create that system, to track and put a price on tree loss.

Construction continues on a new apartment complex on Monday, March 12, 2018, at the intersection of Aurora Avenue North and 109th St., in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has an affordability and housing problem, and the City Council is considering asking businesses to chip in. A proposal in the works would tax Seattle businesses with at least $20 million in taxable gross receipts 26 cents per employee for every hour they work.

The city estimates that an employee tax would raise about $75 million a year.

Should businesses pay more? We debate the pros and cons with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien and Seattle Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Marilyn Strickland.

Seattle Preschool Program teacher Hien Do, center, sits in a circle with her students on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at the ReWA Early Learning Center at Beacon, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a new, bigger education levy that would take city dollars from elementary schools. That money would instead go to adding preschool slots, two years of free community college and counseling for high school students.

Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda sponsored the bill to end subminimum wages.
Courtesy of Jamie Rand Imaging/Jamie Colman

Paying low wages to people with disabilities is no longer allowed in Seattle. Seattle officials have eliminated what's known as the subminimum wage, becoming one of the first cities in the nation to do so.

An Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday to consider regulating transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

The city could end up raising base fares to $2.40, which is the minimum fare charged by taxis. Currently, both Lyft and Uber charge $1.35 as a base fare in Seattle.

Kim Malcolm talks with journalist Kevin Schofield about the impact of potential regulations on drivers and consumers.

There are around 12,000 paid on-street spaces in Seattle (that does not include private parking) .
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Seattle City Council has approved a set of changes on where people can park in the city.

The idea: make better use of the parking lots we have and build fewer new ones. Some residents, however, think it will make it harder to find parking as the city grows.


Dr. Fred Rivara demonstrated how quickly a lockbox can be opened to give access to guns stored there.
KUOW/Amy Radil

Washington state law generally prohibits local governments from overstepping state gun regulations. But Seattle officials say there are still measures they can take to curb gun violence.

Wondering which beverages get hit by Seattle's new sweetened beverage tax?
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

I don’t normally pick fights.

But I had just gotten the last of four rabies shots at Bartell Drugs, and I was feeling punchy. And thirsty. I wanted a diet ginger ale – you know, something to take away the sting of the needle and the memory of getting attacked by wild dogs on a recent trip to Thailand.

Seattle's 2018-19 City Council includes two council members who represent the entire city, and seven who represent a specific district.
Seattle City Council

The Seattle City Council introduced a proposal Tuesday that would allow them to vote on issues in which they have a financial interest, as long as they publicly disclose their conflict.

Under current city rules, lawmakers are required to recuse themselves when they, a family member, or their past or future employer has a financial interest in the topic.


Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

Bill Radke talks to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a King County superior court ruling that says the city can not impound a vehicle if a person is using it for shelter in the city of Seattle.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

You've heard of the bidding wars for houses in the Seattle area, and now people are competitively bidding for rental apartments. Seattle lawmakers are trying to cut off the practice, known as rent bidding, before it takes off in the city.

On websites like Rentberry and Biddwell, landlords post an apartment and suggested rent, and prospective tenants can bid higher (or lower) to try to win the lease.

From left, Amazon software development interns Min Vu, Cindy Wang, Jason Mar, Katie Shin and Louis Yang, walk after getting bananas from the Amazon Community Banana Stand outside of the Amazon Meeting Center on Thursday, October 5, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle officials will once again try to pass an employee head tax on businesses. A similar idea failed in the city council last year, but council members — including Lisa Herbold, Lorena González and Mike O’Brien —  promised to bring it back.

A new proposal slated for review this spring would tax Seattle's highest-grossing companies based on their number of employees.

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Flickr Photo/Seattle City Council (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/U5ehfF

Seattle's anti-discrimination laws allow people up to 180 days to file a complaint against their employer. That statute of limitations would increase under a new Seattle City Council proposal, introduced this week.

The statute of limitations for workplace-discrimination complaints is about six months at the city, state and federal levels. The six-month timer starts when the alleged harassment occurs.

Jeff Simpson at his home outside Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Teal for The Stranger, licensed for KUOW

The city of Seattle turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse against former Mayor Ed Murray, according to a new claim for damages filed by Murray’s former foster son.

It's not clear how many trees on private property in Seattle have been cut down for development projects.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Tree advocates say if Seattle wants to do a better job counting and preserving trees, it should follow the lead of its suburbs.

Pioneer Square apartment listed at $130/night on Airbnb.
Courtesy of Airbnb

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved regulations Monday to limit short term rentals like Airbnb, after more than a year working out concerns from that and similar companies.

Under the new ordinance, most people will be allowed to operate two rental units max.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, playfully interrupted Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez as Juarez spoke about the renovation of KeyArena, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Seattle officials have approved plans for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena. Many people are hoping the redesign will attract a new professional sports team to the city. City Councilmember Debora Juarez led the legislation. She was also among the female council members targeted by venomous comments and threats when they denied plans for a separate sports arena in the Sodo neighborhood. 

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